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Month: January 2004

Kerry surge

If you start here and read forward, you’ll get an elegant insightful view of the Democratic nomination battle from January 14th to the current moment. Al Giordano predicted Kerry’s surge ages ago, and he was dead on accurate. His insight into the surge as it happened was fascinating.

Dirty tricks department

You don’t really need to go any further than the first paragraph of this story (via Talking Points Memo) to get pissed off:

Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

Apparently the Republicans have forgotten Watergate. Stealing memos, as it turns out, is wrong.

Wild wild West

Oh yeah — posts will be seldom for the rest of this week, as I am off traveling on business. Parenthetically, there’s nothing quite so amusing as introducing a tech geek to Fry’s for the first time. Sure, I’m jaded by years of bad Fry’s customer service, but newbies don’t know the horrors that lurk beneath the tech megastore surface.

Locational weblogs

A while back I said I thought it would be cool to set up a Harvard Square wireless weblog. It still would be cool — come to think of it, I should talk to the guys over at They have a little wireless bubble down at South Station, which doesn’t connect to the open Internet but which does have a little isolated bulletin board; they might be interested in the blog idea.

But I am woefully off track. What I wanted to say was “Hey, look at the cool apartment building blog!” Same concept, a little different in implementation. It’ll be a way cool tool if there’s sufficient interest.

(Via BoingBoing.)

Monday Mashup #24: Iowa Caucuses

In honor of the kickoff of the 2004 political season, today’s mashup will be based on the Iowa caucuses, which are exceedingly rich soil in which to plant a campaign seed. You’ve got the obvious basic storyline of selecting a leader in the middle of political intrigue. You’ve got the way the caucuses work; they’re not actually an election. You’ve got the current sitaution, in which the political outsider (Dean) surged against the consummate veteran (Gephardt) until at the very last minute the other veteran (Kerry) takes the unexpected lead — and the other young guy (Edwards) is surging as well. You’ve got Iowa, a state most people ignore except every four years. Fun stuff. Mashers, start your ethanol-fuelled engines!

Environmental problems

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that there’s some sort of white supremacist conspiracy that means to stealthily advance its views into the mainstream. We should believe it. They’re targeting the Sierra Club right now.

“Latin Americans have shown a positive disregard for environmentalism as evidenced by their tendency toward littering and driving smog-belching old junkers.” (Steve Sailer, "Green Gag.")

The leaders of several anti-immigration organizations funded by Richard Mellon Scaife have put together a slate of six candidates for the Sierra Club Board of Directors. The Sierra Club is a target because, as a liberal group, it provides a path for expressing racist views in a manner that doesn’t set off alarm bells. From John Tanton, one of the people behind this effort, in a 1986 memo:

[T]he issues we’re touching on here must be broached by liberals. . . . The conservatives simply cannot do it without tainting the whole subject.

They intend to use the Sierra Club as a method of injecting extremist views into the mainstream. The claim that immigration is an ecological issue is somewhat convincing at first glance, but consider the mission of the Sierra Club. They are global in focus, albeit based in the US; they recognize that ecology doesn’t care about national borders. Limiting immigration, and thus limiting US population does not have any effect on the rest of the world — it just shifts the problem around.

And, if there’s any doubt about the character of the people behind this takeover, read this. But not if you mind seeing swastikas.

(Via Orcinus.)

Book and a half

Hey, look over there. The Population: Too proofreading team has done 729 pages, which is like two and a half books or something insane like that. 186 pages on January 15th alone. And when I say proofreading team, I mean Diony and Liralen, who are on fire.

Thank you guys for helping to increase the amount of free information on the Internet. You rock.

Cash or credit

The rules of The Apprentice got a little clearer this week; the project manager has to choose two people each week to go into the final stage with him, and one of the three gets fired. So, OK, Troy didn’t totally blow it last week. On the other hand, now the team is saddled with a total malcontent in Sam for at least a little while longer; I still think you gotta do a better job of balancing the strategy of picking the bad performers and the management difficulty of staying on everyone’s good side.

The challenge was creating an ad campaign for corporate jets this week, and the women won with more or less the same strategy as last time. Sex sells. I’m still not sure this is going to cut it for future CEOs, but it’s sure winning the challenges. And, in all fairness, Amy did a really solid-looking job as project manager.

Jason was the PM for the guys, and did OK except that he didn’t arrange to meet the client. Me, I would have asked who was judging the presentations and made sure I knew what he wanted — which wasn’t the client, but the CEO of the ad agency made his decision based on what the client wanted, so it came down to the same thing. Pretty dumb to just go off and work creatively without any direction, anyhow.

Sam was the consensus choice for the first poor performer. He fell asleep on the job, literally. Jason picked Nick as the other guy and did a very bad job of it. There wasn’t anyone who was standout bad, and Jason had to pick someone, but he should have made it very clear that Nick was great and that he’d have preferred not to pick anyone else but Sam. Or, for a really daring move, picked the best person and said “Mr. Trump, this is the last guy you should fire and I’m picking him because I don’t want you to even consider firing anyone but me or Sam.” The project managers need to stand up and take more responsibility.

No harm done, except to Jason, since Trump told Nick he wouldn’t be fired right off the bat. Next, Sam made a fool of himself. Next, Trump fired Jason, which is utterly clearly a case of keeping the personality conflict on the show. Sure, Jason should have met with the client, and he’s the obvious second choice. But Sam fell asleep on the job and has no way to be a contributing member of the team. I don’t think Jason had any way out of the trap, though, since there was nobody but Sam on the team who did a poor job.

So now the guys are down two people, and Sam’s useless, so they’re down three people. They should pick Sam as PM next week, and suck down the loss knowing that Trump will have to fire Sam. There’s a good chance that Sam’ll screw up badly enough to make them lose next time anyhow.

Meanwhile, the women are in pretty good shape except that Ereka and Omarosa are arguing at every opportunity. Omarosa hates the whole sex sells approach, and I can’t blame her, but that stance is isolating her from the rest of the women. OK, I guess the women are effectively at seven people. The first time they lose there’s gonna be some implosions happening, but as long as they win there’s no chance for the backbiting to become, well, effective.

Possibly next week someone will actually notice that there’s strategy to this game. I won’t be too harsh on them; it took me two episodes before I figured it out. And someday the women will lose, which will make for great closing sequence fun.

Oh — about my lemonade sales calculations from last time. Television Without Pity has some other numbers. Their assumptions are different, though; I figured $500 meant $500 total, but they think it means $500 profit. If you go with that, the guys did much better than the women in volume. I still think I’m right, though.

Edit: Apparently Sam is the PM next week! I hadn’t watched the teaser yet. I count coup.